In 2009, I was diagnosed with lymphoma and given six months of chemotherapy. I lost my hair, my cancer, and my job. And it took me some time to get disability benefits, including Medicare. And on my meager disability, I couldn’t afford COBRA.
So I went for two years without any medical care, save affording some meds for my diabetes. The other conditions I have had to wait. Including follow-up with my oncologist.
When I was finally awarded Medicare last July, I thought great, now I can go see my oncologist. In the previous two years he had scheduled a number of tests for me, but as I couldn’t afford them, I didn’t go. And I worried about losing benefits if still in remission, and about not having gone soon enough if not. The classic double-edged sword.
But, I finally found some courage and went yesterday. My doctor completely understood why I’d not been in to see him, and I shared my trials of the past couple years with him: few meds, losing my home, fears about benefits, ability to pay the 20% Medicare requires. He was very understanding and accommodating.
He said as his exam showed no recurrence, and it had been over three years, there was no need for an MRI or other expensive tests! I’m to return in six months, and probably one more time after that. Then, only if I have symptoms. He didn’t think being in remission would affect my benefits. And, I’m still cancer free!
And isn’t knowledge and action better than ignorance and FEAR? Perhaps I’ll remember this next time.